A conveyancer struck off in 2001 for misappropriation of clients’ funds has been jailed after his latest crimes were exposed by a tip-off to Trading Standards.
Anthony Lea was kicked out of the legal profession after it was discovered that he had diverted £31,000 of clients’ money to pay off debts and make a “highly speculative” investment.
Aged in his mid-40s at the time, the money went missing when he worked as an assistant solicitor with Norton and Co, in the St Helen’s area of Liverpool.
Lea has now popped up again after being convicted and jailed for his part in washing the dirty cash of organised criminals running an international timeshare fraud scheme based in Spain.
The former conveyance and solicitor, now 66, and Calahonda bar owner Ian Hollis admitted laundering £500,000+ for the gang who used cold callers promising that they had timeshare buyers lined up for a quick sale.
The pair allowed their bank accounts to be used to launder the money, and at one point Lea handed over £180,000 in cash to the gang at an unnamed UK motorway service station.
An investigation was launched in 2016 by Trading Standards but it has taken this long to get the case to court and sentencing to take place.
The gang involved contacted ageing UK owners of Spanish timeshares and offered to buy them at face value in return for a £1,000-£2,000 fee before then disappearing.
As well as the Lea and Hollis, the judge at their sentencing hearing said Spanish estate agents and solicitors were also culpable for facilitating the gang’s activities.
Read more about dodgy conveyancers.